I’ve wanted to share this for a while, so here it is:
Michael Otterson shares some of his thoughts about the Book of Mormon musical, at the Washington Post.
And here are some of my thoughts.
A recent commenter suggested that people ought not judge the musical without seeing it.
I can understand that perspective, but my feeling is that reviews exist for a reason, and that is to help people decide if it’s worth spending their time and money on before seeing it.
I’ve read enough reviews to know I wouldn’t want to see it, and for me, it’s as much about the profanity and other elements of the musical (disrespect for Deity, racism, sexual humor) that would keep me from it than it is about the fact that it happens to also poke fun at my faith (albeit in an allegedly kind of nice way).
Take, for example, this review:
The dialog and lyrics of The Book of Mormon is so littered with [profanity and vulgarity] that it’s going to be a real challenge for the producers to find a clean-enough number for the Tony broadcast in June, where the show is already predicted to be a big winner.
I’ve also heard that it’s sacrilegious, which personally bothers me more than just the fact that the plot singles out Mormonism. I would imagine this would be offensive to many believers of various faiths as well.
After reading several reviews of the Book of Mormon Broadway musical, I almost feel like the fact that it pokes fun at Mormons (and apparently was done in a fairly accurate and way that some even call “sweet”) has left people (some Mormons included) sort of ignoring or down-playing the other things that I think will keep many (if not most) Latter-day Saints from seeing it. (See more about standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding entertainment choices in a recent General Conference talk by our prophet, Thomas S. Monson.)
And I also go back to the simple statement that came from the Church a while back:
The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people’s lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ.